Business Management

News Roundup: Apple cars, Fiorina16, and Emoji keyboards

A roundup of the week’s tech news including Indian Operating Systems, Aliens, and pretty smartwatches.

iCars

Apple’s self-driving car is officially a go. According the WSJ, “Project Titan” has been set a shipping target of 2019 by Tim Cook. According to ever-reliable “people familiar with the matter”, the Cupertino company’s electric vehicles won’t be fully autonomous initially, but that is the eventual goal.

Not everyone is excited about this news, however. Former GM and BMW executive Bob Lutz told CNBC that the whole project is going to be “a gigantic money pit.”

“When it comes to actually making cars, there is no reason to assume that Apple, with no experience, will suddenly do a better job than General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota or Hyundai,” he said. “Apple has an embarrassment of riches, they don’t know where to put the cash anymore. So if they burn 30 or 40 billion dollars in the car business, no one’s going to notice.”

Meanwhile in the Netherlands, the world’s first driverless shuttle bus will soon be taking to the streets. The six-person WEpod will transport travellers between the two Dutch towns of Wageningen and Ede on public roads from November, and will travel at a rapid 15 miles per hour. While similar vehicles have been used in more controlled areas such as campuses, this is the first such use out on public roads. In its test phase, the bus will not travel at night or in bad weather.

Carly & McAfee

Last week we reported that former HP CEO and current presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina was doing quite well in the race for the Republican nomination. More recent polls have seen her race to second only to Donald Trump after her recent showing in televised debates. Fiorina has support from 15% or GOP voters, while Trump has seen his lead drop eight points to 24%.

Following on from her recent TV success, Fiorina was on with Jimmy Fallon this week, where she sang about her dog and said she’d be ok with a Muslim president. She also had to defend her time as the Chief of HP, which by all accounts wasn’t the company’s greatest period.

While Fiorina is pretty confident she could win the GOP nomination, John McAfee is pretty certain he’s got the whole election in the bag already. “I will be president. You can laugh all you want. I’ll bet you a dollar. I will be president or I would not be doing this,” he said this week. The former cybersecurity CEO spelt out his reasoning to the BBC:

“He’s said he’d run the numbers and it would be a landslide. He’s in tech, so he’ll get the techie vote. He said he has lots of tattoos all over, and that because one in five Americans has been inked – that’s a lot of votes too. He said that since presidential hopeful Ben Carson wouldn’t, in his view, win the Republican nomination, the only black person involved in the presidential race would be McAfee's wife Janice. Therefore black people would obviously vote for him.”

In a blog post for Digital Trends, McAfee claimed that Homeland Security is failing to do its job in the internet age because “America is clueless when it comes to cyber science.” McAfee also had a few choice words for Donald Trump about his tech literacy this week too.

BOSS

The Indian government has been working on a lot of digital projects of late. Whether it’s recording biometric information on a massive scale or giving every citizen cloud storage, there’s no shortage of ambition. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) has just accounted the latest version of its own “Indian Operating System” known as Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS). Last updated in 2007, this new version is designed to be highly secure and protect the country’s computer systems from potential hackers.

China also has its own state-approved OS, known as NeoKylin, and it seems to selling quite well. Over 40% of Dell’s PC sales in China are shipping with NeoKylin installed. The Texas-based company may only have an 11% market share, but that’s still a decent figure when competing against such a massive incumbent.

NSA

The usual dose of NSA & privacy-related headlines

-          Ed Snowden thinks encrypting data means aliens will never discover our communications

-          Belgian lawyers have accused Facebook of being as bad as the NSA

-          Hillary Clinton says she won’t have a private email server if she becomes President. Good call.

M&A

Google has acqui-hired eBook firm Oyster, Autodesk has acquired German startup Netfabb, Alcatel-Lucent has bought IoT management company Mformation, Dialogue Semiconducter has coughed up for Amtel, HEAT Software has splashed out on Absolute Software, UK backup provider Redstor has purchased South African cloud backup firm Attix5, controversial message board site 2Channgel is taking over controversial message board site 4Chan, and CSC has splashed out for Fruition Partners.

Kickstarter has eschewed an IPO and instead become a Public Benefit Corporation. The crowdfunding platform announced via a blog post that it will now be “obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders.” The company has reaffirmed its commitment to arts and culture and donating 5% of profits to good causes.

Pebble

Smartwatch pioneer Pebble has released a new smartwatch. Not particularly big news, but this one is very easy on the eye. The innovatively named Pebble Time Round is the first smartwatch that doesn’t look like a clunky hockey puck. No word on whether it will be crowdfunded or just on sale through normal channels.

Emoji keyboard

Do you know people who communicate solely through the medium or emoticons, or worse, are you one of those people? Well someone has developed a keyboard for you! This 1,000 character keyboard – actually 14 of them stuck together – features every emoji you could possibly want or need, all painstakingly arranged. 

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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